TODAY: As expected, Encarnacion has been activated.
YESTERDAY: The Yankees are set to welcome Edwin Encarnacion back to the big league roster after a month-long absence due to a fracture in his right wrist, Conor Foley of the Scranton Times-Tribune tweets. Encarnacion cleaned out his locker with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton following today’s game and told Foley that he feels “100 percent” and is “ready to go.”
Encarnacion, 36, hit .238/.327/.497 with nine home runs an 10 doubles through 36 games and 162 plate appearances between his mid-June acquisition and his IL placement on Aug. 3. It’s a step back from the .241/.356/.531 pace he managed with the Mariners prior to the swap, but his return will nonetheless provide a boost to a Yankees lineup that continues to hit even as it deals with the absence of numerous regulars.
The Yankees recently welcomed Luke Voit back from the injured list and have been enjoying a torrid hot streak from Mike Ford, who has belted six home runs in his past 10 games. Major League rosters have expanded to 40 players this month, so the Yankees won’t need to option anyone out to accommodate Encarnacion’s return. Given the health of Voit and Ford’s recent excellence, Encarnacion could be eased back into action, as that trio is each restricted to first base/designated hitter duties only. As such, manager Aaron Boone can now play matchups as he sees fit with that trio — Ford has hit just .176/.278/.318 against lefties — and always have another dangerous bat on the bench.
Encarnacion is owed the balance of this year’s $20MM salary between now and season’s end — some of which is being paid by both the Rays (who were involved in the three-team Encarnacion trade in the winter) and the Mariners. Encarnacion’s contract comes with a $20MM club option for the 2020 season, which includes a $5MM buyout.